If you've ever tossed and turned in bed because you felt like you were overheating, you might be a "hot sleeper." These night sweats may have more to do with physiological reasons than environmental ones, but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that you can change in and around your bed to give you a more comfortable night's sleep. Here, a few experts share their best tips for getting cool.
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Understand why you “sleep hot.”
Experts call the increased temperatures and subsequent perspiration that happens overnight "night sweats;" this is unrelated to being in a room with an elevated temperature. "Some causes include infection; changes in hormonal states that can occur during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, or thyroid conditions; anxiety or stress; and low blood sugar," explains Dr. Marisa Garshick, the Certain Dri chief medical correspondent. Medications and certain foods, drinks, or other medical conditions can also be the culprit. If you're experiencing excessive sweating overnight, or sweating with additional symptoms, Dr. Garshick suggests checking in with your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.
Switch your sheets.
To make yourself more comfortable, Kevin Queen, the president of Sleepletics, suggests making some changes to your sleep environment—starting with your sheets. He suggests linen and cotton to start, and if that doesn't work, there are new textile technologies that might. "Celliant sheets absorb body heat and reflect it back as therapeutic infrared light to the body's muscle and tissues," he says, which can increase circulation and aid better oxygen flow to your cells. "The result? Better, more comfortable sleep without being overly hot and faster recovery from physical activity, so people wake up energized."
Try a breathable mattress pad—and lower the thermostat.
You can do more for a better night sleep than just switch your sheets. Queen says that adding a breathable mattress pad may also make a big difference, and so will lowering the thermostat before bed. "A room temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for a good night's sleep," he says, adding that creating a dark, quiet environment is just as important.
Dress for success.
What you wear to bed also plays a role, says Dr. Garshick. "To help reduce feeling hot and sweaty at night, it is important to sleep in a comfortable, cool environment and avoid clothing and bedding that tend to trap heat," she says. Light, breathable clothing will not only help you feel cooler, but it will help you feel less constricted, as well. Whatever you do to beat the heat, make sure you avoid fabrics like silk. Dr. Garshick says that while they may be good for hair and skin health, they generally do not absorb moisture as well as cotton fabrics, and they may retain odors after a sweaty night. Additionally, she advises skipping any pre-bedtime workouts. Anything that raises your body temperature before bed won't help you beat the late-night heat.